I went to Dublin with very little time and a lot of things I wanted to accomplish. I planned on doing the Guinness Factory and then a day at the Cliffs of Moher. I got one of those two things done. The bus from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher leaves extremely early in the morning, myself and my son were way too tired and jet lagged to wake up for that bus. In the near future my plan is to fly into Shannon and take a look at the more scenic sights Ireland has to offer. For now, let’s get started on the details of my trip to Dublin.
I arrived in Dublin on Tuesday morning. I purchased the Dublin Pass for the first day as this included transportation from the airport via motor coach to the city of Dublin, hop on hop off bus, and entrance to the main attractions in Dublin. I paid $55 USD for the Dublin pass. After arriving to the airport I walked to the bus station and boarded the bus, the ride was about 30 minutes from the main city. Once at the main city my son and I transferred directly to a hop on hop off bus and started our day in Dublin.
On our first day in Dublin we started with Trinity College. Once there we walked around campus a little bit and then headed to Books of Kells. I didn’t know the Book of Kells was not included in the Dublin Pass, it was actually one of the only activities we went to that wasn’t included. For this exhibit buy your passes ONLINE, in advance. The line to get into this exhibit is about an hour long for those who didn’t purchase online passes.
After exploring Trinity College for a bit we were both very hungry and ready to eat some food. We got back on the hop on hop off bus and headed to Temple Bar. Now, Temple Bar isn’t just a bar (the name can be confusing), it is a little area of Dublin with cobblestone streets, pubs, street entertainment, and shops. There is “The Temple Bar” though which is in Temple Bar and is a bar, confusing? Sorry. Anyway we grabbed lunch at a pub in Temple Bar called Bad Bob’s Temple Bar. We ordered the ribs, and it came with sweet potato fries, corn, and coleslaw. There was enough to share between the two of us and came out to 17 euros.
Once we were finished with our tasty lunch we headed off to do another exhibit. We went back on the bus and waited to see where else it would take us. We got off at the St. Patrick’s Cathedral stop and did a bit of exploring. The inside of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral is massive and filled with beautiful stained glass, just like you’d find inside most Cathedrals. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest, and the tallest church in Ireland. If you’re into history, you can spend hours here just reading the walls. Absolutely beautiful structure, make sure to stop here and marvel in it’s glory.
Once we finished St. Patrick’s it was about 4:30pm. Unbeknownst to us, most of everything in Dublin closes at 6pm. By the time we were back on the bus it was 5:00pm and we didn’t have time to get much else done with the little time we had left. We decided it was time to pick up our keys for our Airbnb, shower, and call it quits for the night. Our Airbnb was in the most perfect location. I got off the hop on hop off bus, and walked about 30 seconds to the front door of our apartment.
It was my first time using Airbnb so I was a bit nervous about the check in process, cleanliness, and ease. I was pleasantly surprised as my host was very communicative, informative, and pleasant. Although I never met my host in person, I was able to access everything just fine. The apartment was spacious and included everything I could possibly need, and the location was central enough, and safe enough to walk around and get to where I wanted to go. Only a short 10 minute walk away was Temple Bar, a 5 minute walk away was the Jameson Distillery, and a 30 second walk to the hop on hop off bus stop. I couldn’t have asked for better, especially because the price was less expensive than the hotels in the area. (I have included the link for those of you who are interested in checking out Stephen’s Airbnb ).
Day Number 2. On this day I had planned to go to Cliffs of Moher, but the bus for this location leaves Dublin at 6am, and as you see the previous day we got absolutely no rest. We went straight from the plane to exploring Dublin, it was too much to put onto my 3 year old. We woke up around 9am, ate some breakfast, and then I bought another Dublin Pass to explore the beautiful city for another day. After breakfast we walked down the block to our hop on hop off bus and started our tour.
Our first stop was the Dublin Castle. The Dublin Castle, in the past, was the seat of British rule in Ireland; but today the castle is used by the Irish Government for events like state banquets for foreign dignitaries, and the inauguration of the Irish President. If you opt for the self guided tour the Dublin Castle offers a mobile app so you can get the most out of it. I myself did the self guided tour as I felt my 3 year old would be quickly uninterested with the tour guide. I have read many reviews online though which recommend using the tour guide as they will show you the underground remains and tunnels. So if you don’t have younger children I would recommend taking a guided tour of the castle.
Second stop was another visit to Temple Bar. We visited a different restaurant, The Shack, and ordered another plate to share. This restaurant was located directly across the street from The Temple Bar. For lunch we ordered the Steak & Guinness, which is tender steak chunks cooked to perfection, mixed with onions and mushrooms, in a Guinness sauce. This was also served with brown bread and butter. This meal was more than enough for the two of us. My son ate more than I did and we still didn’t finish the whole plate. The picture above really doesn’t do the meal justice. I didn’t feel like taking my camera out of its bag, so I snapped a quick shot with my phone before digging in. We both ate lunch for a total of 18 euros.
After lunch I planned on making 2 more stops, the Guinness Storehouse, and the Dublin Zoo. I didn’t know the Guinness Storehouse would take as long as it did and by the time we were finished there it was 5:30pm and no time to visit the Dublin Zoo. The Guinness Factory is definitely a cool stop, even my son enjoyed watching the videos and seeing all the Storehouse had to offer. Although he couldn’t have a Guinness at the Gravity Bar they offered him a fountain soda, and he enjoyed drinking it with the beautiful view the Gravity Bar offers.
After exploring Guinness Factory it was “closing time” in Dublin. We went to a McDonald’s, about a 10 minute walk away from our apartment, grabbed a quick bite for dinner, and then walked around the explore the area. We ended up in the Temple Bar area which has a completely different atmosphere at night. We walked a couple of the bridges in the area, and then headed to our apartment. We made a pit stop at a convenience store on the way back, grabbed some popcorn and chips, and had ourselves a movie night.
Day three, we journeyed home. Stepped outside of our apartment at 9:30am, hailed a cab, and reached the airport at 10:00am. If you are traveling to the US you will clear customs in Ireland rather than when you reach the US, so arrive AT LEAST 2 hours prior to your departure time. I didn’t know Ireland was a “pre-clear” country and I almost missed my flight because of it (I know I should’ve done better homework).
That was our short little adventure to Dublin, and as I stated in the beginning I plan on going back to Ireland in the near future and exploring the “country side”. I would also plan on at least 3 days in Dublin if I were to visit again as everything does close early and you need more time to get everything done.
Until next time,